After the battle between McLaren and Alpine for his services took F1 news be storm last summer, Oscar Piastri is demonstrating precisely why he was in such high demand.
The Australian driver executed a brilliant start to take second place, seemingly on track to claim the podium that was taken away from him in Silverstone.
Consistent pace in the first stint put the 23-year-old in prime position to secure a maiden top three F1 finish, but Piastri soon found himself struggling with tyre management.
Predominantly, this loss in pace was the result of floor damage sustained early in the race, which slowly put a podium out of arms reach.
The Australian still managed to bring home more important points in 5th place, again demonstrating he is more than comfortable fighting at the very front.
Raw speed, maturity and consistency are rare features to find in any driver – let alone someone with just 11 Grand Prix completed.
In typical fashion, Piastri gave a very objective analysis of his race in the Hungaroring:
“Some positives to take from that race. I think the big takeaway for me was working on tyre management.
“I struggled quite a lot in the second and third stint, following some floor damage.
“So, yeah, a lot to learn from that one. But to still end up with P5, with the challenges I had, is a very good result.”
“We have made decent steps forward in the last few races. The conditions this weekend have been a good test for us.
“To still be up there is a big confidence boost and we can look to take that momentum to Spa next week.”
Young drivers generally take some time before they can achieve accolades in Formula 1, spending their first years learning their craft.
However, in a sequence of events that have seemingly formed a perfect storm, Piastri is on track to hit two birds in one stone.
McLaren’s success in F1 is far from guaranteed, but at their current trajectory, there are plenty of reasons to be excited.
Author: Jaden Diaz-Ndisang